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Old Thu Sep 27, 2012, 07:38pm
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Hearing Aids

Had a question posed to me the other day. A player has hearing aids, not the kind that fit in the ear but ones that extend outside and around the ears. My fellow official was wondering if they should be treated as eyeglasses or as other medical devices like insulin pumps.

In Pa if a player has an insulin pump or other medical device, the coach/AD must send a request to the PIAA for a waiver in order for the player to participate. The waiver must be given to the officials at the beginning of the match. Obviously, no waiver is needed for eyeglasses.

In the case of the girl with hearing aids, the coach had not thought that he needed to ask for a waiver. I've sent an email to our state rules interpreter but have not heard back from her yet. Any ideas if this would require a waiver?
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Old Fri Sep 28, 2012, 06:09am
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Per the NFHS VB Rules Book:

Rule❒4 Player Equipment and Uniform
The NFHS does not perform scientific tests on any specific items of equipment to determine if the equipment poses undue risks to student-athletes, coaches, officials or spectators. Such determinations are the responsibility of equipment manufacturers.
1. Prior to the match, head coaches shall verify that all their players are legal and wearing legal uniforms and equipment.
2. Each state association may, in keeping with applicable laws, authorize exceptions to NFHS playing rules to provide reasonable accommodations to individual participants with disabilities and/or special needs, as well as those individuals with unique and extenuating circumstances. The accommodations should not fundamentally alter the sport, allow an otherwise illegal piece of equipment, create risk to the athlete/others or place opponents at a disadvantage.
Following that, per 4-1-4:
ART. 4 . . . Any equipment that in the judgment of the first referee increases a player’s advantage or presents a safety concern, i.e., towel tucked in uniform waistband, is prohibited.
You (or PIAA) will have to determine if the hearing aids present a safety concern or not. If PIAA does not make a determination, then we have to fall back on Rule 13: Common Sense.
Jan G. Filip - San Jose, CA
EBVOA Rules Interpreter Emeritus
NCS Volleyball Officials Coordinating Committee Recorder
CIF State Volleyball State Championships Referee (2005), Scorekeeper (2006-2007) & Libero Tracker (2010)
PAVO State Referee (2014) / PAVO Certified Scorekeeper (2014) / PAVO Certified Line Judge (2012)
USAV Junior National Referee (resigned 2013) / USAV National Scorekeeper (2014)
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Old Fri Oct 05, 2012, 02:12am
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From its size with its way of operating that way, the hearing aid technology that is used today is very different from what hearing aids used 100, 50 or even five years ago. The history of hearing aids is far reaching and colors - the first hearing aids worked without electricity, while the first electric models were simply too big to be portable. Today, digital hearing aids are discrete, lightweight, and have the ability to be adjusted for different environments and to amplify the sound without distortion. And the future has many improvements in hearing aid technology as a whole. But it is important to review the history of hearing aids to understand that only the industry is headed.
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